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Student journalist expelled after publishing critical articles

(IRFS/IFEX) - The Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns the expulsion of Elmin Badalov, "Poligon Information Agency" ( ) editor and fourth year student at the Oil Mechanics faculty at Azerbaijan State Oil Academy (ASOA).

On 12 November 2009, Badalov published an article on the website ("Reportage from the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy") regarding bribery cases and financial fraud at the ASOA. Following this, a wave of harassment began against the student journalist. He was called to the dean's office to be interrogated about his article. Badalov eventually failed his exams and course work. He was expelled from the university in January 2010 following an order by the Rector. The student journalist claims that he has been an exemplary student and that his failures were related to his article.

IRFS recalls that a similar incident occurred with the "Janub Khabarlari" employee and Lankaran State University (LSU) student, Parviz Azimov. He was expelled from the university for writing a critical article about the LSU. Azimov appealed the expulsion. The court decided that the decision to expel him was unfounded and ordered that he be allowed back into the university.

IRFS notes that the harassment of Badalov because of his articles contradicts article 47 (everyone has the right to expression and speech) of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Badalov said that he was subjected to pressure for freely expressing his thoughts and called on ASOA to allow him back to the university.

In his appeal to IRFS, Badalov noted that he can pass the university's exams if a fair reexamination is held with the participation of the commission board. IRFS calls on the Ministry of Education to create conditions for Badalov's reexamination so he can prove his claim.

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